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Entertainment behind the scenes

George Benson recounts “criminal” encounter with Beatles

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As The Beatles take center stage in the music world this week with the much-anticipated reissue of their albums, it’s easy to forget that the Fab Four were not exactly adored by large swathes of the musical community back in the day. Jazz artists, especially, looked down on the noisy pop stars (or were more likely envious of their fame and fortune). 

george3“It used to be a crime for a jazz musician to even mention the word ‘Beatles,’” jazz guitarist George Benson recalled on Thursday, during a promotion for his new album at the Grammy Museum in downtown Los Angeles. 

“There was such a divide between rock music and jazz music … We just didn’t discuss anything like that.”

There were some notable crossover efforts, including Ella Fitzgerald with her versions of “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “Got To Get You Into My Life.” 

Ain’t no spotlight in the works for soul icon Bill Withers

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If you never saw Bill Withers perform during his heyday in the 1970s, you’re out of luck. The 70-year-old singer/songwriter of such soul standards as “Lean on Me” and “Ain’t No Sunshine” says he has no desire to mount a late-era comeback because he gets more applause now than when he was on stage. 

withers“When I was actually out there, I played small places, I never drew that many people, I didn’t get any applause,” he said during a chat this week with a few journalists. “The kind of stuff that I did, actually, it took about 30 years for it to sink in. But when I was current, I wasn’t that big a deal. So I learned my lesson. If I stay at home, things go well for me. I don’t want to show up and screw it up.”

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